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How To Promote Your Latest Via Email Without Pissing Off (Most of) Your Contacts

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Natasha YoungeLet’s face it, practicing proper email etiquette can be been a steep, and rocky, learning-curve. Some people were born knowing how to do this – others of us, not so much.

There are times when we need to make a personal appeal to our closest contacts. Whether we want to share about a crowdfunding campaign, our latest performance, an upcoming film screening, or even ask friends to purchase a product we have created, it can be daunting to know exactly how to reach out to them.

Just trying to send out a “quick” message? Slow your roll! Your perceived time-constraints and urgency may lead to some poor communication choices. And unfortunately, we might not be aware how ineffective our email communications are, until our contact either directly expresses their dissatisfaction – or worse, blocks your email without even telling you.

Never to fear.

If you’re just beginning the journey into the art of email writing with specific goals, welcome to the fold. I haven’t completed my exploration, so I am by no means an expert. This little summary will share a few of the early stumbling blocks (and potential solutions) I have discovered, so that hopefully you won’t feel as discouraged if you encounter them.

Stumbling Block #1: EMPATHY CHECK

Imagine your friend and contact on the other side of the computer screen. Their inbox is way too full. Their junk mail is exploding with offers they never wanted. And now here you come along with your “something” to share. It can lead to varied reactions, some bordering on murderous rage.

Were you imagining that reaction when you sent the email? OF COURSE NOT! You wouldn’t want to anger your friends! You just want to let them know what you’re up to, and hope that they find some time to read about it, and if they’re interested, take action.

My suggestion here is always keep in mind how you feel when you receive an email. Consider what prompts you to open – or not open. What causes you to read further, or discard it. And what might even make you delete – or even block.

Whatever you do, try to remember that the email you send is never about you. It is always about what how your receiver can benefit. If there is nothing in there about them, then a re-write might be necessary.

Stumbling Block #2: PERSONAL TOUCH

You find yourself extremely short on time, because of those aforementioned time-constraints, and the solution: send a blanket email to all of your current contacts. Right?

Wrong.

Now your friend feels like a nameless, and possibly under-valued, contact among your MANY contacts.

As appealing as it may feel at the time, I would lean towards personalized messages as much as possible.

If you have more than 25 contacts to whom you’d like to send a message, then one simple way to do that, is to add your email contacts to an email service like MailChimp. It will automatically give them the option to “unsubscribe” if they don’t want to hear your updates. In addition, it can track who already unsubscribed, so that you don’t ever need to add them again.

Although services do not encourage you to add an email address without direct permission (and with good reason ), that is where the conundrum begins. If you don’t already have an “opted-in” email list from your website or a business, then you have to start SOMEWHERE. How do you personalize 200 plus emails without using an email service? It will certainly take longer manually, so if you feel that is the best way forward, just plan to give yourself plenty of extra time to send those messages!

Stumbling Block #3: RIGHT MESSAGE

My final observation here is related to #2, but slightly different.

Over the years, you can build a lengthy list of contacts. When it’s time to write those personalized emails, you will inevitably begin to sort through based on the varying levels of relationship. You may also organize them according to profession, how you met them, and in other number of configurations.

One thing I wished I had done was to organize my contacts well in advance. This organizing process, although very informative, was – you guessed it – time consuming. Rush this step, and you may potentially send the wrong message to the wrong person, with your message being filed unceremoniously into the trash.

That’s all I have so far.

I continue to learn and stumble, so I welcome your comments below. What are some great tools or resources you’ve used to email your contacts effectively about your latest and greatest? And be sure to subscribe to the Ms. In The Biz newsletter and share with a friend.        

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About Natasha Younge

Natasha Younge is an actress ( General Hospital ) and comedienne ( The Ice House ) who has appeared in television, commercials, award-winning independent film, and musical theatre premieres from Los Angeles to London. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the Drucker School of Management ('19).